Living in the Springdale neighborhood of Stamford, we’ve been waiting 5 years for a delicious, downtown-esque restaurant to open up within walking distance of our home. Well, we are happy to say Olio has made it happen! Now if you remember from our last post announcing Olio, it is not Italian like you might think. Actually, it’s kind of hard to put your fork on what exactly Olio is. It’s sort of New American, Nuevo Latino with Italian influence and it totally works! Here’s why:
Kind, helpful, and quick would sum it up. If the water was close to empty, it was filled. Your wine was poured for you when it ran low. Don’t you love that? :) Moira Hyland, co-0wner with Chef Steve, even made her way around the restaurant to make sure things were going perfectly. As we eavesdropped, we heard some amazingly positive feedback.
Although the menu fit on one page, it was very difficult to narrow down our picks. In the end, we came up with a great strategy: we’d share each app and each entree, giving each of us four different tastes. Oh, but there’s dessert too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Starting off, you get some soft Italian bread that you can dip in a roasted pepper and olive tapenade or a white bean hummus. The olive tapenade was salty (not too salty), full of that olive bite, and tangy from the peppers and the white bean hummus was creamy and had nice hints of garlic. We asked for more of that, omnomrific!
We started with seared sea scallops with smoked cauliflower fondue and sweet & sour golden raisins. The fondue was light, but yet was still full of flavor. The raisins added a wonderful brightness that balanced out the seafood flavor from the scallops. The scallops were cooked perfectly, the sauce added a great sweet taste, and the cauliflower creamy. This was our favorite!
Then onto braised pork shoulder with avocado, pickled red onions, coriander, and crispy plantains. The pork was delicately braised, was tender, and oh so juicy. On top of the pork was a bright, fresh pickled red onion salad with chunks of avocado. Steve served all of this on top of flattened plantains, crispy and fried to perfection. DELISH!
Next was house made ricotta gnocchi with lobster, shallots, a brandy tomato cream sauce, and arugula on top. The sauce is light and creamy. The gnocchi is light and pillowy, with a good bite to it. The lobster was cooked nicely and the tomato added that nice touch of just a little tartness. Somehow this manages to feel like a light dish.
And lastly we enjoyed the beef short rib with truffle mashed potato, ancho chili, and tomato confit. Mmm, the meat just fell of the bone with a gentle pull and the sauce had this delicious, exotic flavor with a hint of cinnamon that really rounded it out. And the truffle mashed potatoes, oh yeah, just enough truffle flavor, creamy with chunks of potatoes—just how we like it!
Oh, and we washed everything down with a bottle of organic, environmentally friendly Como Sur 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon / Carmenere blend from Chile.
For dessert we had the cinnamon doughnuts with Nutella dipping sauce. When you bite into these soft and moist bad boys, you can really taste the cinnamon. It tasted like a churro actually. These are seriously the most moist donuts we’ve ever had and found out it was because the chef added just a little ricotta. Good call, chef! After he talked with us a bit about his donuts, he also made his way around the restaurant, and people were gushing about how awesome their food was. Yeah, he’s the man.
And the Creme Anglaise bread pudding which had a great vanilla flavor. This was a pretty traditional bread pudding that—although it tasted delish and was moist—was a bit too bread-y for us…we prefer our bread pudding on the creamier side. We shared both desserts with a nice spot o’ joe from Ward Coffee of Norwalk.
Our Overall Take on Olio
What can we say? We’re glad that Hope Street and Springdale now have some tasty, super creative food. Olio is breathing life into the culinary scene and we venture to say this will become a go-to spot for us and many others. Definitely head on down to our neighborhood and check it out!Olio Noms: 4 Cost: $$$ Address: 934 Hope Street Stamford, CT 06905 Phone: (203) 817-0303 Fax: (203) 817-0305